Esperanza Computer Lab Offers Community New Opportunities, Hope

7/14/2011

Ministerio Esperanza en Cristo — known simply as Esperanza — is the center of the Hispanic Ministry of Chapelwood United Methodist Church, which serves the large immigrant community in Spring Branch. Esperanza’s After School Program recently received a generous grant through the Texas Connects Coalition to create an on-campus computer lab.

 

Texas Connects Coalition was formed by leaders from Austin Free-Net, the Metropolitan Austin Interactive Network, and Technology For All to provide broadband opportunities to underserved and vulnerable Texans.

 

This summer, 25 computers were purchased along with a printer and projector for use on Esperanza’s campus at 3911 Campbell Road in Spring Branch. The grant will also cover the cost of having a program specialist present 36 hours a week for the next 18 months. In addition to providing one-on-one help, the specialist will teach structured classes designed to encourage computer literacy. The new computer lab will soon be open and offering hope (which is the translation of Esperanza) to the community, making it possible for many Spring Branch residents who lack access to a computer to learn about and utilize computer technology.

 

Students in Esperanza’s  After School Program will also benefit from the computers and online capabilities as they complete homework assignments and learn how to use programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Mario Gutierrez, Pastor and Campus Director at Esperanza, explains, “We are excited to use technology, not only to teach our community, but as a way for families to stay connected to their loved ones living in other countries while also sharing the love of Christ in a fresh way.

 

There is such a buzz in our church family and community, including among local young people. Everyone is excited and ready to learn.” For more information about Esperanza or the new computer lab, go to www.chapelwood.org, key search word: Esperanza, or contact Mario Gutierrez, at 713-895-8300, ext. 202 or mgutierrez@chapelwood.org.